If you’re a brand novice to the world of tea (or even an experienced veteran) There are moments when you are overwhelmed by the myriad of varieties types names, grades, and tea terms all flying at you.
To make it easier to understand, we’ll start from the beginning and then break it down into bite-sized pieces of information. We’ll start with the 6 main varieties of tea.
At the beginning of my journey, I believed that each kind of tea, including green, black-white, oolong pu-erh, and yellow teas, all was a result of unique, individual plants. However, I now know this isn’t true. The kind of tea you drink is determined by a specific step of the process of processing for each.
Every tea, regardless of the type, has eight similar processes, which are: picking or plucking and sorting, cleaning primary drying, processing specific to the tea being processed final drying and firing as well as sorting according to grade and, lastly, packaging. Five-step – the process specific to the kind is the one that determines which of the six primary kinds of teas are being produced.
Other elements, naturally will influence the tea’s type including the size of the leaf as well as climate, elevation, low or high-grown and the amount of water as well as the kind of soil and the time of the season it’s harvested each of which contributes to the final result.
However, the method of production and the amount of time it takes for the leaf to be dry or is oxidized is the most important factor in determining the type of tea being made. If it’s a green-white or yellow tea that has very little oxidation, or a black tea (or Pu-erh) which is completely oxidized or an oolong that offers a variety of oxidation, and is regarded as semi-oxidized. It’s not the amount of oxidation that defines the quality of tea.
Let’s take a short review of the six primary kinds of tea:
Black Tea: The black teas are completely oxidized and are typically divided into two groups: entire leaf teas as well as broken leaf. Teas made from broken leaves are divided by the wire mesh screen that has various sizes, ranging from the largest, thickest leaf to the smallest of particles, also known as fannings or dust. Teas with broken leaves are usually used in tea bags as well as blends.
Green Tea: This is one of the biggest and often the most complicated of the six primary varieties of tea. Instead of a grading system, green teas employ names as designations. With over 3,000 varieties of green tea that are believed to be produced in China alone, it’s extremely difficult to track each particular name. Japan has also produced green tea, however, since they make fewer varieties, it’s much easier to distinguish every single one of their distinct styles.
To further confuse the issue To make matters worse, there aren’t any uniform standards from one nation to another in Naming green teas, and every country employs its method of naming and identifying.
White Tea: Up until the last few years China was among the very few countries that produced white tea. They also have stunning Bai Hao Yin Zhen (or Silver Needle) and Bai Mei (White Eyebrow). However, Sri Lanka has entered the race through their Ceylon Silver Tips, and Bai Mu Dan (White Peony), and both are as luxurious as the white teas of China. Several other countries are manufacturing white teas however, there is they are not as good as these two countries that are the top producers.
Oolong Tea: Both China and Taiwan produce exceptional Oolongs. The natural environment has provided both regions with ideal conditions for growth. The lengthy, meticulous manufacturing process gives the rest a variety of flavors and styles, from light and sweet to robust and hearty.
Yellow Tea: You probably have not heard much about yellow tea since it’s produced exclusively from China and is difficult to locate since it’s not produced in any quantity. Because it’s somewhat obscure, it’s sometimes advertised and sold as green tea, but it’s not intended to be.
This is a shame, as the yellow tea is exceptional by itself, and has many of the same characteristics as green and white teas, but with an additional stage of processing that makes it stand out and makes it distinctive.
Pu-erh Tea: There are two varieties of Pu-erh that are shou Pu-erh, which is a style with a quicker aging time that is available as loose-leaf or compressed into cakes known as being cha. Sheng Pu-erh is the more aging style that is compressed into cha and various shapes. They are which is then stored in temperature-controlled rooms that age the tea for anything between ten and fifty years.
It’s astonishing to consider that all six major kinds of teas start with the same freshly picked from the same plant however, with a little help from nature and the nitty-gritty in the making of tea will end up being distinct teas that are unique to themselves.